7380 Westfield Rd. Medina, OH. 44256
Additional information on this cemetery can be found at: https://medinacountygraves.com/shaw-cemetery/
In the 1830s there was a great influx of settlers into Lafayette Township including William Walters, William Bleekman, Ephraim Coy, Silas Gates, Alva Averill, Phineas Needham, John Mead, and William Averill. It is during this time period that Shaw cemetery was likely started. The earliest date found on a headstone is that of Mary Mead, a daughter of the above-mentioned John Mead and his first wife Deborah. Mary died in the spring of 1839 but there is evidence that the cemetery may have been started as much as a decade earlier.
“In 1830, a log schoolhouse was built at the graveyard, about a mile southwest of the residence of N.G. Wightman.”
This brief passage in the 1881 Medina County History (pg. 677) tells us that there was a schoolhouse on the cemetery property – the District No. 4 Schoolhouse – evidence of which can still be seen in the open area on the south side of the parcel. The question this mention raises though is whether or not to take it literally as it states. Was the schoolhouse actually built at the graveyard – rather, can we take it that the graveyard was already in existence at the site in 1830 when the school was built? Or is it just using the graveyard as a known reference point to convey to the readers of the time? Later on the same page, it states:
“This building was used some four years when a frame structure was erected to take its place. In 1853, the frame was destroyed by fire, and the remainder of the term in progress at the time was taught in a vacant dwelling nearby. About a year later, the present frame schoolhouse was erected, nearly half a mile north of the cemetery. The year after the old log house was built at the cemetery, another log school building was erected near where the old grist-mill now stands.”
The last line again suggests that the cemetery was already in existence when the original schoolhouse was built. With that assumption, all of what is Lot 7 in Tract 3 of Lafayette Township was owned by Lucy Day at the time when the cemetery was started. The entire lot was then sold to Urial H. Peak on December 9, 1835 (Volume K, page 548) and again to Ebenezer Chapin on March 17, 1837 (Volume M, page 590). The lot was sold again as one piece to George W. Mallory on May 25, 1855 (Volume 7, page 597). It was when Mallory sold the parcel to Abel Bostwick on February 17, 1858 (Volume 10, page 507) that the cemetery is first exempted and recognized as a separate land entity:
“….except one-half acre in the northwest corner, also seven rods square in the west line of said lot used for a burying ground…”
The half-acre referred to was sold by Mallory to the Board of Education on March 27, 1856, for the building of the aforementioned “present frame schoolhouse”. That building stood on a lot on the southeast corner of Westfield and Chippewa roads.
The land for Shaw cemetery was acquired by the township of Lafayette in three purchases.
The first piece was obtained for the sum of twenty-five dollars from Abel Bostwick in a deed dated January 5, 1860, in Volume 30, page 129 of the Medina County Land Records. This parcel is 80/177 of an acre or 0.452 acre and includes all of the lots in the 10th, 11th, and 12th rows as well as the southwest corner region of the cemetery and the northernmost lot in rows 1 through 12:
“…commencing at the southwest corner of said lot No. seven and running north twenty minutes east three chains and seventy links; thence south eighty-nine degrees and forty minutes, east two chains and twenty-one links; thence south twenty minutes west three chains and seventy links; thence north eighty-nine degrees and forty minutes west two chains and twenty-one links to the place of beginning eighty-one seventy sevenths of an acre of land. To have and to hold the above-granted premises with the appurtenances unto the said Lorenzo M. Pierce, Amos Sheldon, and Joseph Robb, Trustees of said Township and their successors in office for the sole purpose of a Burying ground….”
This deed also includes language for the retaining of two burial lots by the Bostwicks:
“…except the right to two lots in said Burying Ground which said Bostwick reserves and also said Bostwick is to be at no expense for fencing said ground meaning to convey all of the above described ground except forty-nine square rods deeded to the school directors of School District No. 4 by Ebenezer Chapin dated 11 May 1843.”
The second part is the oldest and front part of the cemetery which had been exempted back in 1858. George W. Mallory sold this property to the Lafayette Township Trustees for the sum of one dollar on March 27, 1872, and detailed in Volume 29, page 291 of the Medina County Land Records. The parcel is a perfect square of one-hundred-fifteen and a half feet on each side; being 49/160 of an acre or 0.306 acres in size:
“Commencing six rods and a half north of the southwest corner of Lot No. seven (7) in Tract No. three (3) – thence north along the center of the road seven rods, thence east seven rods, thence south parallel with the west line seven rods – thence west seven rods to the place of beginning, containing forty-nine square rods of land, and I the said George W. Mallory do give, grant, bargain all and convey unto the said John B. Chase, George W. Waltz, and Garrett Spitzer, Trustees of Lafayette Township, Medina County, Ohio and their successors in office the above-described premises for the sole purpose of a burying ground.”
The township acquired the last piece of the cemetery land from George M. Shaw and his wife for the sum of $38.50 as described in a deed dated December 5, 1888, in Volume 51, page 149 of the Medina County Land Records. This last parcel is 55/100 of an acre and consists of the back four rows of the cemetery along with the driveway on the north side:
“Beginning at a point in the center of the road on the west line of said lot two hundred sixty-four and one-fourth feet north from the southwest corner of said Lot No. 7 and running thence east parallel with the south line of said lot two hundred twenty-five and eight-tenths feet to a stone, thence south parallel with the west side of said lot two hundred sixty-four and one-fourth feet to a stone in the south line of said lot, thence west along said south line eighty feet thence north parallel with the west line of said lot two hundred forty four and one fourth feet thence west parallel with the south line of said lot one hundred forty-five and eight-tenths feet to the west line of said lot thence north along said west line twenty feet to the place of beginning containing fifty-five hundredths of an acre of land. The said Grantor G.M. Shaw to be to none of the expense of building and maintaining a fence around said land.”
While the cemetery is known as `Shaw’, it wasn’t until 1866 that George came and purchased land in Lafayette Township. In the fall of 1893, his daughter-in-law Emma would become the first known burial in this back parcel and the first actual Shaw burial at the cemetery bearing his name.
The same described parcel of land is recorded as being sold by the Ohio Farmers Insurance Company to the Trustees of Lafayette for the sum of one dollar on December 14, 1888 in Volume 52, page 77.
This map can be found with the deed in Volume 29, page 291 and shows the boundaries of all three purchases along with the dimensions.
COUNTY HOME BURIALS
When the County Home Cemetery ceased to be used after 1950, those who died there and had no family or burial arrangements still needed to be put somewhere. From about 1955 to 1975 most of those individuals ended up at Shaw cemetery; buried in the back two rows with nothing more than a small metal funeral home marker to mark their final resting place. Almost all of those markers have since disappeared. By examining the dates for those burials whose location is somewhat known, it appears that they were buried one right next to the other in chronological order. The County Home eventually mandated that incoming residents needed to make burial arrangements prior to admission – thus eliminating the need for those burials here. After that point, the cemetery essentially ceased to be used; with only one more burial known to have been made since.
Few original records exist for this cemetery. The burial listings were compiled from the remaining headstones, death certificates, and a few death notices from old newspapers. Only the map mentioned above and the WPA map for the cemetery were thought to have survived to show how the cemetery was laid out.
A map of Shaw Cemetery was discovered in township records in 2011. The map was drawn up in 1960 by W.W. Anderson, County Engineer. It is a copy of the cemetery plat drawn up by A.D. Sheldon in 1888 which covered the back part of the cemetery. That plat map was in possession of the township trustees (in 1960) and was in bad condition. No records existed for the front part of the cemetery and the names and dates for the new map were taken from the existing headstones. The lots were not staked and the locations of graves on the map were indicated as potentially being off by as much as 1 to 5 feet. The lots were not numbered before 1960 so a numbering system was implemented with this new map. It also provides information on the burial locations of a few unmarked graves in these newer areas. Information obtained from this map was used in organizing the burial listings found here.
The original cemetery was laid out in nine rows of six lots each. Each lot measures 9.6 feet by 19 ¼ feet. In the area of the cemetery acquired from the Bostwicks, the lot sizes vary somewhat. Lot dimensions in this area are either 9.6 feet or 10.1 feet long by either 19 ¼, 20, or 22 ½ feet wide. From the Bostwick land, one lot was added to the north edge of each row and three rows of eleven lots were added to the rear. Four lots were added to the south end of each pre-existing row except was made impossible by the lowlands in the southwest corner. In those cases, only one lot was added.
With the Shaw addition, we see the same variation in lot sizes. While all the lots measure 10 feet long, they range from 19 ¼ feet to 22 ½ feet wide.
The driveway is 20 feet wide and, while mostly unused, actually runs all of the ways around the perimeter of the cemetery. Walkways measuring ten feet wide run between rows 12 and 13 and between rows 14 and 15. Per the WPA map, all lots in this cemetery are set up for seven gravesites. The individual grave designations found in the WPA records have been included here. One point of interest on the 1960 map is that it shows many of the newer lots in the cemetery being used as five-grave lots.
At whatever point the schoolhouse lot was vacated, it was plotted out for gravesites. The low area in the southwest corner was neither used nor plotted out.
Lot markers can be found for a few lots – such as the Richardsons, Shaws, Lahrs, and Rices – but those for the McConnell family lot are the most prominent. They are concrete pillars that stand several feet above the ground and seem to have once been connected by chains.